Let me wish you all a happy new year and hope to God at the same time that this turns out to be a happy new year for our family. Why wouldn't it be? Well, because we are planning a major addition and remodel of our home, and there is going to be dirt and dust and short tempers and large bills and all sorts of fun we haven't even envisioned yet.
I'm sure I'll be packing this blog full of pictures eventually, but for now let me just sketch out with words what we plan to do to our home.
Picture, if you will, a 1950s-vintage split-level with three bedrooms, one (mostly original) bathroom, and one (mostly original) kitchen. That bathroom is roughly 6' by 9' and is used by three potty trained individuals and one who is gradually moving out of diapers and into the big-boy world of undies. The kitchen is about 10' by 10' with painted wood cabinets (trust me when I say leaving them unpainted was actually worse) and a metal coat cabinet being used as a pantry because there is enough traditional cabinet space for about 5 cans of soup.
Now mentally fill this home with a family: A dad, a mom, two boys (ages almost 5 and 2.5 years), and two beagles who take up more than their fair share of the big bed and every comfortable piece of furniture through the house. (They are, in fact, currently snuggled up next to and partially on top of me. My left foot is asleep.)
Surely some previous owners of both our own home and many of the similarly styled homes throughout the neighborhood have raised families this size and even larger with this 1400sq ft of living space and one overly shared bathroom. We've been talking for about 4 years, though, about building on so we don't feel so cramped. We also have a bit of a storage problem. The closets are minimal, to be generous, and we are finding ourselves surrounded by belongings that really should have homes behind closed doors. If only such space existed.
So a basic overview of our plan:
(1) Build a brand-new kitchen where our deck currently resides. Thankfully, this deck has seen better days and is currently covered with a slight coating of mossiness, so it is not a great loss.
(2) Raise the lower side of the split-level by one story, whereby we will be able to add more bedrooms and (huzzah!) another full bath. The boys will have to share the bathroom, but at least they won't have to share a bedroom forever. They might find it fun right now, but we fully expect that feeling to wear off.
(3) Convert the current kitchen and too-narrow dining room into one dining room that is actually usable. Imagine dining at our home and not having to be one of those poor people trapped between the table and the wall for the duration of the meal. While I usually volunteer to be one such person, at least one other always has to join me if there are six or more of us. You may have been one of those people. You have my sincerest apologies and a promise that we'll have you over for dinner when we have a larger room to eat it in.
A big project, no? And did I mention we're going the DIY route? Before you panic on our behalf I will mention that shortly after we bought our house Ken built a 750 sq-ft detached garage with help from friends and neighbors. Since we're not utterly foolish, we did hire out some important jobs, like excavating and masonry, to experts, and we'll do the same for this project. But most of the grunt work will be done by Ken, his dad, and some of the same friends and neighbors who stuck around after the last project. (Heh heh.)
So welcome to the before-math of our remod-hell. I'll be your tour guide through this grueling, expensive, and stressful, but ultimately rewarding (we hope), process.